Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas .....

.... or season's greetings, or happy holidays - whichever you prefer:)
the year is nearly gone, I can't believe that 2012 rushed by so fast! and I only just managed to make my traditional door wreath yesterday - usually it's hanging by mid-december at the latest. but never mind, I made it, though this time I didn't collect all kinds of greenery; I only used variegated holly and the reason for this is that all the variegated ones grow like mad - while the pure green one doesn't exactly rush into things here! we planted two (boy and girl) on the day we married, and they've been unstoppable ever since:) there are red berries on it, but the large leaves hide them rather well... the bow is a very old one I literally made decades back....
same for the christmas cookies. when I still lived in germany, I made loads of different ones; bit by bit I cut back over here, because with only three people and the occasional visitor there aren't enough mouths around to finish all of them. I did do most of them during the last weekend, so at least they are very fresh:) nobody likes to eat old cookies around easter! not even the dog....
and now I am off to dig through all the books I received:) the next few days will be spent on reading, knitting and spinning, only occasionally disturbed by a bout of cooking (and eating)! I've been looking forward to this for weeks - so here I come! btw - I received the very first handmade christmas gift from my son - who has been working on a lathe in school and took the opportunity to make a "needle holder" for me.... happy days during the rest of the year to everybody!

Friday, 14 December 2012

bits and pieces

there's not much to show here just now! I finally finished the fletta cardigan, but I didn't upload the pictures - yet. it was late at night and with a flash, so I think I might have to adjust the pix a lot to show the true colours (or at least as true as I can make them....). the finished cardigan was packed up and sent away only a few hours after I added the last touches and there was no time to wait for sunshine or even just daylight:) talking about last minute gifts....
I also finished two other knitted gifts - which I can't show before christmas. and I did another project - which has to wait after the pattern is published, because it was a test crochet.
I did however change the header picture - this is what the last few mornings looked like! below zero temperatures meant that everything was white with rime, but it all melted away quickly during the day. today we woke up with rain - but at least it meant that the roads had no icy patches! it looks nice - but can be rather dangerous for bicycle riders! the weather forecasters are funny guys (and girls) - some of them predict more of the same, some colder spells, but a lot of rain and no real snow etc. for some time to come. others however predict a very cold, icy and snowy spell for all of us for a prolonged time - actually it should already be here and last until the new year! what to believe now?
at least I have plenty of materials to do the christmas baking - and it's high time now! I made two sorts, peanut butter cookies - one of our absolute favourites (recipe on page above). and mocca-hazelnut macaroons - which are ok, but won't make it on our list, because they flattened out a bit and don't really taste very special. and now I am off to do more - not sure which ones, but I have to do coconut macaroons at least!:) and I started a new knitting project - to be enjoyed this evening. it's the best stage of knitting - when you are still full of enthusiasm about the project and can't wait to get your hands on those needles:) best of all - when it's a project that will be finished before the absolute boredom sets in that usually befalls me, when I am working on a larger project!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

not much to show....

it's been a while.... by now the leaves are off the trees (Elke - it didn't look half as nice today, or rather it was so foggy that you could barely see the tree in the header, never mind the other side of the valley....), the nights are often frosty - but the day temperatures are still in the plus grades, so that we do have icy patches after dark, but during the day the roads are ok... I hope that it stays that way; at the back of my mind I have the niggling worry that very soon we might have snow and ice again and problems with shopping etc.. and I am talking about shopping for food, not for elaborate christmas gifts etc.!
which brings me right on to the reason why there was so little blogging done here. several larger projects as christmas gifts mean very little time for anything else I could show here! but - it's looking good, I am making progress and hope to be finished in time (without night shifts, if possible:).

this is a small project I used to test out a bigger pattern. the first time round I chose a needle size too small and ended up with a piece of cardboard (Lagerfeld might have worn it instead of one of his ubiquitious stiff collars:). after ribbing and going up in needle size I ended up with a wearable cowl. which could be improved on, it's far from perfect. if you wear it like this it rolls up to the outside, which is alright. if you try to wear the purlside out, you end up with a ring around your neck that feels uncomfortable and looks.... a bit like a rodon cake tin! the yarn is darker in real life, handspun superwash merino, dyed with food dyes, plied with a fine cotton thread. I am not sure if I leave it like this and wear it - maybe. or I'll just pull it all apart and use the yarn for something else.... I don't think I'd buy superwash fibres again - they have an odd feel to them, a bit like cotton balls, nothing like wool at all:(


 I also spun some honey coloured mohair I had in stash for some time, but I only managed 200 of the 300 g, the rest is still in the corner, waiting for a quiet moment. I miss the spinning, but if I start doing it right now, I loose too much of the time I need for finishing christmas stuff! but I am looking forward to lots of spinning time during the holidays:) no plans for the mohair yet. I think it's too scratchy for a scarf, no idea what I'll use it for or even if I should ply it or not.
 to make sure I don't run out of work during the holidays I stashed up from Suzie during the last spinner's meeting:) there are some small balls of merino in purple, red and green. also two bags full (100 g each) in different shades of blue. I got two 1 kg balls of teeswater (I think I might have bought most of what was in store by now:) plus a small bag of a few gaywool dyes. a small booklet with christmas deco ideas in knitting. and for creative times two bags full of sari silk strips, in the pic on the right, pink and purple tones....
I had also planned to knit the "licorne" socks by J. Laidman.  I looked around for some sock yarn in the right colour, which isn't easy (the original yarn isn't available anymore and was from overseas anyway), because it has to be one with very subtle colour flecks, nothing with stripes or other patterns. I thought I found what I wanted on Beata's hedgehog fibres page, but when the yarn came it was too pinkish blue to fit the pattern. luckily the yarn found a new owner immediately! that's what the gaywool dyes are for - I think I stop hunting and just dye my own:) I also orderd some corriedale fibres in purple from Beata - and I can't get enough of it, have to keep myself from running to the wheel to start spinning it:) I only have 250 g, so it won't be enough for a large project. but I think if I spin it into a fine singles I should have enough for a nice shawl or maybe a shrug.
when a friend asked if I wanted to order some sock charms - I couldn't resist! it was fun to unpack the little bag they came in and lay out my collection:) some of them I wanted for a friend, who cannot resist anything "mousy".... I'll add them to the christmas gift, without socks, just as a small something to unpack.
the hands I want to put on handmade larger projects. the elephants and hippos (below the elephants) will go to new owners soon - and the rest will go into my stash for now - to be added to later projects... but in my mind I am already working on dragon and witch socks:) or maybe something with teapots in the design?
at the last spinner's meeting we also took apart the CTC exhibition in the museum in Castlebar. my picture socks are back home now as are my bobbin lace pieces - and the jacobs wool socks, which I'll send to their intended owner this week - after the poor man had to wait for so long to receive his "thank you" for the milksheep and jacobs fleeces he gave us for nothing!
as I said, nothing much to show apart from materials... but while I am knitting away on the christmas stuff (I still have to write all the cards, too:() my head is whirling with new ideas, projects I'd like to start in the new year and techniques I want to try out soon... right now the garden is so dripping wet and cold, that I don't even make it down to the tunnel or dome. most days I just put bird food out and that's that:) it's too tempting right now to sit in front of the warm oven and do "inside stuff" after the long months of taking every opportunity to do jobs outside!
happy "1st advent" to all those, who celebrate it - and a nice time before christmas for those, who don't! I am finally going to put up my deco around the candle holder - to light the first candle, if rather belatedly....

Monday, 22 October 2012

forgot those

I nearly forgot to show my mermaids socks! one was knitted  very quickly, because I needed it for a demo on sock knitting a year ago. the other ball.... matured in a shoebox, together with another started pair!:) the dark red I started with a ball of schoppel zauberball is still in there; it's only done to the beginning of the first leg of a toe-up. but the handdyed mermaid was already finished halfway, so I decided to free it - and here it is:

 unfortunately the pumpkins are not home grown; I've never had much success with them, not even in the polytunnel:( the footlasts I bought are too small for my shoesize "violin case", that's why the socks look a bit "empty"... but they fit me very well:) I dyed the flat balls of sockyarn whole in a dyebath with food dyes. when the yarn was dry, I thought there's way too much white (of course, the yarn only took the green on the outside and the inner core. I wound it in the other direction and put it first into some blue and then into some leftover purple, which resulted in this blend of colours. I call them mermaid because of the colours, but the pattern is traveler from Janel Laidman's book "the enchanted sole", one of my favourite sock books. I changed it slightly, because I don't need a pocket on my socks, and the star toe was just to show them at the demo.
the cable pattern is nice to knit and not difficult. I added a glass drop bead in the last cable - the original shows more, but smaller beads!
I missed my chance for sunny pix yesterday - today it was rather grey and a bit hazy, but the asters are out and I couldn't resist them:)            (I would like a few more colours, but didn't find any nice ones at the local garden center:()

this sorbus has lovely autumn colour, too - I forgot to take one of the witch hazel, which has the most brilliant yellow leaves just now, with a rusty tinge along the edges.... apparently the birds prefer my ripe rhamnus berries to those of the sorbus, because those stay on the small tree well into winter! unfortunately they seem to have discovered this source last year - because in the years before they never fed on them, but this is the 2nd year in a row that I can barely pick a bowl full for my dyeing....

Friday, 19 October 2012

a few things do get finished!

I am in the early stages of christmas present production.... which means that I start a lot of different things and don't have much to show for it - yet. today I finally sent off several finished projects - some of which should have been with their recipient weeks ago:( but at least I have slightly less stuff flying all over the place:) and my conscience is clean(er), too!
I did however finish my (until I decide otherwise) revontuli:
 the pattern is slightly more than a half circle and it stays up nicely over the shoulders. it's very soft and warm - the only thing that I don't like so much is the jump from white to grey. I am pretty sure I'll do another one at some stage and when I do I plan to use intuition more than mathematics on the colour blends! with this one it would look better if I had added another grey, mostly white with just a small amount of grey blended it - to smoothen the colour progress a bit. the pattern (free on ravelry, thank you to the designer!) is very simple to knit, though I have to say that close to 600 sts for each row towards the end - tend to be a bit boring to knit. I worked about 80 more rows than the original design shows, because my yarn was much finer and I wanted to use up all my yarn. in the end I had to spin a bit more of the white, for the last back row and the attached i-cord edge (not in the o-pattern either). when I saw a lovely petrol blend here (next to last pic), I decided that I should try this colour flow out myself soon. or maybe some nice purple tones?
this "knubbelchen" (transl. = small knob, not a nice name for a little doll:) pattern is free on ravelry, too - even in english, if you're interested. I liked the simple make-up of it. I was looking for something cuddly for a baby or very small child - always a bit iffy, because things can be chewed off or unraveled - which can be very dangerous at that age! the hands and feet of this doll are just knots in the knitted fabric; nothing can fall off (the only sewn thing is the hat - and I think that is too large to be swallowed), everything but the hat is worked in one piece. no eyes to attach and the cotton/wool sock wool is machine washable and doesn't pill. it went into the mail today, together with the baby cardie, but I'll make some more, because we have more babies in the extended family:)
I can't show you anything else I am working on just now, because all projects are intended gifts... I can show you a find from the garden though:


strawbs gone loony - some are flowering, some are laden with green fruits - and some even ripen, though they just don't get enough sun and warmth to taste like real strawberries. still, it's nice to eat a few at this time of the year; together with some blueberries they made a nice addition to my granola:)
off to do a bit of knitting -or crochet? or maybe some ironing - what a choice:)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

here, there and everywhere

I used to think that spring is my busiest time, with all the gardening jobs etc. but it seems that bit by bit autumn becomes busier as well! or maybe it's just me getting older?:) anyway, I am trying my best to keep up with it all, but it means that there's little time left for blogging about it.
I have been picking stuff all over the veggie plot, but on the fruity side our harvest will be miserable this year. a tiny bowl of plums, a few elderberries and the usual rosehips. plus some raspberries... the only thing I can still pick and quite regularly (even though not in huge amounts) are the blueberries. we eat some and I freeze some... and look forward to repot a new addition to my blueberry selection, which I received a few days ago:) the measly harvest doesn't surprise me - that's what you get when the weather has been cool and wet since spring!
the only plants in the vegetable area, which grew exceedingly well were the kales, nero di toscana. I prefer the smoother leaves to the more curly kales, because they are so much easier to wash (I am not a vegetarian, but I don't like creepy crawlies in my meals:)) the chillies are a bit of a surprise, because they were red in the photo on the label - but stayed yellow with me. I think I am going to turn most of them into a paste, "diluted" with tomatoes, because we don't really eat very hot food. should be enough to last us a whole year:)
 this is another first for us - grapes! we tried for years to grow them, but it never worked until we tried this variety (black hamburg? not sure....) inside our dome. outside they make a lot of leaves, but nothing in the way of flowers, never mind grapes. they are small, but they do taste nice! we have to share them out evenly, because there are so few to go around:)
the small pinkish berries are berberis berries! this breed has white berries that turn pink when ripe. they have a very clean lemony sour taste - maybe I should juice some and use it instead of lemon juice? not sure they would do well in a jelly....
I did pick a small bowl of blackberries (wild, they grow everywhere, but aren't exactly plentiful either this year) and decided to make a berry cake. I made a sponge base and covered it generously with (bought) strawberries and our own raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. then I covered it all in a fruity jelly, made from fruit juice, some sugar and gelatine. (forgot to take a photo of the finished cake!). which tasted nice, but was a bit of an effort, because I started rather late and it took ages to set. and of course eventually I didn't have quite enough, so I had to start again with an instant job in a bag - close to two in the morning:) which had to be added hot - and started to melt the gelatine at the bottom, so part of it all seeped out at the bottom.... I could write a book about cake "stories" like that!
this is a mini lemon! I got my hands on one and gave it to my husband for his birthday. it was small, but covered in buds. it has flowered quite generously, but the first lemons were tiny, about the size of a generous blueberry! the second set though is much bigger now! I wonder if they treated the plant with growth stunt, so that it will slowly turn into a normal lemon producing tree? wouldn't mind that, because I think those small lemons are difficult to squeeze... at least they are untreated "bio" lemons and we're checking every day if one of them has turned yellow yet:))
a few days ago we had a mighty hailstorm out of nowhere. no plants were damaged but after a while we found this dragonfly dead in a large puddle:( I think it must have been too fragile to withstand hailstones like that, but we were too late to save it from drowning:( they are so very beautiful with their huge, fragile wings - the pattern in them looks like smoky lead glass pieces!
and from this angle you can see why they served as inspiration for the first helicopters. the wings look just like the blades of a heli before take-off.
I do bits and pieces on the side, during tea breaks etc. I dug out another bag ful of old cotton yarns and started to make wash mitts. I can use only so many dishcloths, but wash mitts are nice for small gifts! stuff a nice piece of soap inside (handmade, if you can find one), pack 2 or 3 nicely and you'll have a secret santa or a small something, when you visit someone.
for tv knitting I started the revontuli with my "black to white" handspun merino. this photo was taken about 10 days ago, the start in deep black (sorry, the flash doesn't like to show deep black:). it is a very simple pattern, after the first few rows it really is more or less mindless knitting.
this photo is from today and you can see that I am nearly done. I am going to reach the white part soon - though I have to say that by now the whole thing is a bit boring to knit. no wonder, with close to 500 stitches per row and nothing much to do but knit stockinette, with an increase every 50 sts or so. I know - it looks like a bag, but with so many stitches on the needle, I cannot even open the knitting up on my longest one! another two or three tv evenings - and I should be ready to block!
this is the dark blue silk (handspun) again, for which I couldn't find the right knitting pattern. I tried quite a few, but didn't like any of them. when I checked one of my crochet mags (crochet accessories 2011) I stumbled across a very open pattern, adorned with some beads. I would like to make a scarf for myself, silky and not too warm, more decoration than garment, and I quite like the open effect so far. the beads are matte silver-lined glass, only blues and turquoise plus some clear glass, also silver-lined for a bit of sparkle. they remind me of sea glass, so maybe I should call the scarf mermaid's net with sea glass?:) I did discover something weird though, when I took the pic - I must have gone senile this morning, because I turned after doing only half a row - and now have a funny step in the middle. nothing for it but to frog, but luckily it's only half a row.
now off for kitchen duty - right now I wouldn't mind a holiday, preferably with lots of knitting time - and no gardening jobs whatsover:)

Monday, 17 September 2012

quick update

three entries in one day - must be a first! I just wanted to let you know that Shadow isn't here anymore. we found her owners - and her name is Muggy, if I got that right. no, I don't like that name - but the dog was clearly happy to be reunited with her owner:) and vice versa! we found out, that she isn't a Husky mix after all - but an Alaskan Malamute mix! she was only here for 3 days - but I do already miss her. ok, not the chewing on furniture/wool/toes - but her affectionate personality made up for all her mischief. on the other hand I can see that our old dog is relieved - she immediately ran to her favourite place and plonked herself down with a big sigh - and went to sleep. the only problem now might be that she lives right on our way into town and will probably run wild every now and then. but at least we'll know now where she belongs and can ring to have them pick her up if she does follow us again!
we'll see how long it takes for another one to make a trip to our animal holiday home here:)

and the rest

so, now you know all about "shadow" (I do wonder what her real name is!). isn't she gorgeous? ok, full of mischief, but adorable, too! I do hope we'll find her owner, even though I'd love to keep her. but then she is still young and full of funny ideas - and our old Dobby is a bit overwhelmed by so much attention. because of her injured hind leg she can't play and fool around for long anymore, something shadow just doesn't understand. and I am sure she's still growing - also a little bit of an elephant (little miss trample....)! we don't really have the time to train her properly just now! the trouble is that she's so cute, that it's hard to tell her off! she just makes this clown face, "grins" at you and shows her tummy - it's not easy to be angry at her when she does that:)
I did do a few other things in the meantime of course. I've been crocheting and knitting dish cloths out of leftover cotton yarns. no pictures of those, went straight into use. I also used a few smaller balls of fine cotton, which I found in the recycling center a while back. the colours are "wake me up and do the dishes", right?:)
 nothing special really. just single crochet, half green and half pink, two triangles. I tried to make the edge a bit pretty by adding this 2coloured pattern... simple to do, but quite effective. I have nearly a full cone (1kg) of the green - and nearly 2 full ones (2 kg) of the pink! what am I going to do with the pink especially? I also have a softer yellow, which would go well with the green and tone it down a bit, but the pink I have no idea for. no garment for myself, that's for sure - I don't want to stop traffic on the road!
I finally got around to blending and spinning my white to black sequence. the smaller pieces are the top as it came, the fluffy bits in between the blends I made up from them.
in hindsight I should have blended one or two more batches with the white, because all the colours flow - just not the white to the first grey. I think I'll try the revontuli with it, probably from black to white, because I have more of the white yarn. not sure if it will be enough though...
when I showed my fairy-tale yarns at the last spinner's meeting, one of our members fell in love with "rose red"... she was so enamoured with it that she even wanted to buy it, but of course I still need it for the full project. when I stumbled across the leftover pink and rose tops at home some time later, I thought I'd just spin up the rest and give some to her. it's a bit "greener", because I only had light green soy silk to ply with, no pink silk left. I added a few ribbon roses and hope she still likes it slightly changed (if she doesn't, that's ok - I'll just keep it:)
I also finished the first of two baby cardies, the second one is on the needles. simply done, like a ballet wrapover, just with a little frill at the bottom. it's soft and fine sea island cotton - though I have to wash it again now, because Shadow, aka the "uptonogood" dog, had to wipe her nose on it:(
 and I am way behind in the garden - too many other things have to be done right now! and a nosy dog, digging holes in my veggie plot as soon as we get there isn't really helping. though I am sure that she's very proud of herself, fertilizing the plantings and jumping on those ugly small polytunnels to flatten them!
I did wonder about one of my new plants though - I bought two tubers of begonia odorosa. this is one of them in flower. they are a pinky-red on the outside - and yellow on the inside!
oddly enough, the other tuber, supposedly the same, flowers like this. practically no yellow and single, not double blossoms. it's not the odd one out, none of the flowers show any yellow or double petals! and the oddest thing to me - they have no scent whatsoever! why is it called odorosa then??? anyway, they both do look pretty, but it's not the first time I get mix-ups like that in my flower pots!
this is it for now - it's oddly quiet downstairs and given that nobody has claimed shadow yet - I'd better get down and check what she's been up to.... I do hope that somebody rings about her soon - or our house will need a complete makeover:)  

a dog story....

hi guys! I am new here.... I am a girl, teenage age, they say - and I love to play and have fun. well, that's why I am here actually, but more about that later.
 there are three people here (and one old dog...more about that later, too:). they can be fun, but sometimes they are a bit odd. they don't want to play all the time! but I do - and if they don't, well, I won't let them out of the door... simple as that. no attention, no space to move.                                                                         hm, that didn't work out so well - those humans! they just went out the back door! unbelievable! alright, you asked for it. let's see what I can do to get attention.                                                                         

there's a lot of stuff in this house to play with. I found two balls of this - it rolls around, makes loops and knots, you can throw it in the air - and when someone finds you doing it, you do get a lot of attention! ok, the first time I didn't do it right - I ran to the boy to show him what I found. he wasn't too pleased - and took it away from me. but the second time round I got clever - and started to fuzz it up a bit - under the table:) it took them a while to find it - but boy, did I get attention this time! ok, the woman was a bit miffed, she yelled  at me and told me off - and she didn't give me a chewing stick even though the other dog got one! maybe they don't like it, when I play with their stuff?
ok, if I am not allowed to play inside - I'll just go off and try the outside... now, where's the old lady gone to? she must be here somewhere; I can smell her!!

righto, there you are! let's play a bit then... come one, don't be lazy... give it your best shot!

she is a bit odd, that one - eventually she gets a bit cranky, so I better give in - truce! (you have to appease her and let her win, even though you could just bowl her over.... she's got a limp and gets tired early - the old ones are funny, eh?)
puh, what a day, I think I need a rest - maybe I ate a bit too much? never mind, give me five minutes.... I could shred a bit of cardboard later - or jump on the table again. yesterday I got told off again - there was some meat lying on the sink! it smelled so good that I took it down - which they didn't like! should have put it somewhere else then, ha! and you know what they did? they gave it to the old one - even though I caught it! yep, humans can be really mean:(

the woman said I should behave and look nice for a photo. what's that supposed to mean? I always look nice! alright, alright, here you go then.... that's me at my best. they call me shadow btw. but that's not my real name! because - well, I don't really live here. I just followed the woman, when she passed me on her bike. she was nice and played a bit with me, so I thought, hell, why not have a little day trip! I've been here a few days, but I don't know my way back now! and anyway, it's ok here - maybe I should stay?
so, this is "shadow's" story... if this dog belongs to you, please contact me soon. I am sure you must miss that lovely dog (ok, she's a bit like a ball wrecker sometimes, but really sweet, too:) a lot!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

not getting anywhere?

do you know that feeling, when you're working your butt off - but don't seem to get anywhere? right now I am busy on all fronts, but nothing ever gets finished! the building work goes on, the garden work goes on as long as the weather allows me to work outside. but it doesn't look like a lot of progress on the shed and the garden is still the overgrown jungle it was 2 months ago! add to this the damage this cursed rabbit is doing - and it leaves me with a desperate wish for late autumn/winter! the veggie plot looks rather odd now, nearly everything has to be covered with nets, old curtains, fleece etc.... funnily enough the rabbit doesn't like the japanese indigo, which isn't covered. not that it's putting on much growth, I think it dreams of warmer places and more sun.... but maybe it will do a bit more now that we have a week of more summery temperatures? the measly plants are on the left, right beside the healthy looking late batch of potatoes. the only plants that don't seem to care about the weather:)
this is our wine, which has set grapes for the first time ever! we haven't had any luck with plants outside, and in the greenhouse I had to play bee and pollinated a bit with a q-tip, but at least we won't need to thin out the fruit bunches:) it's a red wine supposedly, but we're still early in the season for grapes, so we'll wait and see what happens....

the only plant I'll be fully self-sufficient with will be chillies. we don't really eat very hot food, so I only need them sparingly, but the 6 plants I have are full of chillies, which started to ripen during the last few days. at least I think they're fully ripe now, because the first orange one has been on the plant for a long time and it didn't change to red, purple etc. anyway, I am not sure I'll be able to dry them properly, so maybe I should either freeze them or pulp them up into a paste?              the green leaves on the left are from a cedronella plant, which grows away nicely and dries quite well, even in our humid climate. it gives off a slightly camphorous scent, fresh and clean somehow. I'll collect some and maybe use it as a moth repellent between my woolly stuff....

 I also took a few pix of my fuchsias, dahlias etc. they are all in full swing now! the fuchsias just because they're pretty (don't they look like frilly dresses with petticoats underneath?:) - the dahlias for dyeing. I have three of the red pompons and was able to collect one big bag full of frozen flowers so far. but the plants are full of buds, more to come for my dyepot!
 a "coral" fuchsia, totally different shape - and no frills at all.

 this is one of the many crocosmia "luzifer" plants. they look a bit like a fiery freesia, but they are pretty hardy and survived even the two very cold winters a few years back. and they multiply nicely, too! I wonder - the colour is so much like the red dahlias - would they dye orange and yellow as well? another one I have to try out...
this little flower is a dahlia, too! dahlia merckii, one of the original species, which surprisingly survived the winter cold after all. I had several of the clumps in the garden, but only this one made it through. I am happy that it did, because they are easily grown from seeds, so that I can add to my collection again for next year....

of course it's not only flowers around here, but when the weather is this good I have to work on the outside most of the time. I did finish the green to go with the two other colours though. I am planning on knitting a "fletta" cardie, the cardinal is the main colour, green and pink (softer and a bit lighter than the photo shows) are accent colours.

and I started to spin up the leftovers of my "sock orgy" - this is the wool/silk blend I dyed for the sky area. very soft and cushy....

I also tried a few small bits to knit on the side. my first set of wrist warmers (saw them here) was shorter, tighter and had "steps" that looked nicer somehow. I think I should have added more rows into each step with the longer one - or less stitches to make them more pronounced? anyway, they're nice and warm - once it's colder again:) off into the giveaway box with them...

I've had an idea about my fairy-tale yarns. I think I'll start a big shawl, more or less rectangular, or rather "free-form". I plan to follow the tale a bit and add and take away the yarns just as if the story unfolds and the character come into play. I am going to spin either a dark brown or dark green (forest colours) for this, to keep the yarns separated a bit, not too close to each other and I'll use freeform knitting (and maybe crochet) in the project. maybe (thanks for the idea, Andrea:) I'll also assign certain stitches and patterns to each character - but I have a feeling that it will take some time and effort to work that one out into a usable garment:)
to keep my hands busy I am also working on a baby cardie from fine sea island cotton that I still had in stash, in a natural white, with a little frill at the bottom. not much to show yet, but I am rather glad that I managed to change over from the frill with 225 sts in each row (just for the back!) to a much quicker knit of 75 sts for the rest of it! not sure if I'll take it for the train ride tomorrow, but I think I'd be better of with a sock - several need finishing anyway!
now I am back into the garden - getting more plants out for the rabbit to finish off..... and btw - I am back with my normal email address, all sorted, but you can reach me on eircom, too.